Butterfly Memorialsby A-Badgero
The act of a ceremonial releasing of doves at special events has been practised for centuries. Around 2900 BC Egyptians would announce the arrival of important guests by releasing pigeons from incoming ships. Many people are looking for more personalized ways to say goodbye and sometimes that means taking old traditions and tweaking it to fit the personality of the deceased. If you are looking for a unique and positive experience for your own or your loved one’s sendoff perhaps a butterfly release will fit your needs.
A widely accepted belief is that butterflies represent transformation which makes this type of service very fitting and meaningful as it is a tribute to your loved one’s transformation from this life to the next (the afterlife). There is something enchanting about watching these delicate winged creatures softly float up and flutter away on a breeze, we have all felt it since we were children. Not only is it a unique and beautiful gesture it also gives your family and friends a feeling of peace and comfort. It is as if the sight of a butterfly release expresses in vision what the soul feels.
Depending on the company you choose to go with there are often different types of releases offered. The first option offered is a singular butterfly release. The live butterflies are air expressed overnight the day before the memorial service in special triangular release boxes. The boxes keep the butterflies in a naturally cool and dark condition putting them into a comfortable resting state until they are released. Once the box is opened the butterflies will awaken due to the stimulation of the natural heat and light and take flight. No special care is needed as the butterflies arrive fed and content. At the desired moment each person will open up a triangle and release their own butterfly.
The second option is a butterfly release box that allows for a mass release. The amount of butterflies is completely up to you, whether you want a couple dozen or 100 butterflies there are decorated boxes in an assortment of sizes that will accommodate your needs. With a mass release butterflies will flutter around and may land on close by items or people.
The third type of release available is a display and release. This option makes it possible to acquaint your guests with the butterflies before the release by having them in display cages equipped with floral arrangements that act as decor and food for the butterfly. The butterflies are released directly from their easy to open case when the time is right.
There are many companies that participate in butterfly releases so you may want to research the ones close to your area to make sure they can meet your needs. Most butterflying releasing companies will use the monarch butterfly because they have the best behaviour patterns are easy to care for and with a wing span of approx 10cm they are easy to view for this type of an event. Other species tend to be more unpredictable in behaviour and due to their darty flight pattern they can be difficult to see and follow making them not as suitable for the desired affect of a butterfly release. Also other species of butterfly tend to be more subjective to shock making it difficult to ship them as they are not suitable for the release packaging. There are companies that will use other species of butterfly as well but you must request them and be sure that they are a species that can survive in the climate of your area. Some other types available are the Painted Lady, Giant swallowtail, Mourning cloak, Red Admiral, Gulf Fritillary and Zebra Longwing depending on the state in which you reside. If requesting a different type of butterfly you may be subjective to the different type of care they may need.
Many have begun using butterfly releases in wedding and graduating ceremonies as well as memorial services. Hospice’s and palliative care organizations will often have a memorial event each year where loved ones of those who passed can release a butterfly in their memory while other memorials simply release a large group of butterflies at one time as a mass tribute to those lost throughout the year.
Just as for a memorial service you would read a eulogy you may want some words fitting for this special event. There are many spiritual poems about butterflies as well as readings specifically for a butterfly release. Below is one of the readings that the company Butterfly Memorials suggests.
As you release this butterfly in honor of me, know that I’m with you and will always be. Hold a hand, say a prayer, close your eyes and see me there. Although you ma feel a bit torn apart, please know that I’ll be forever in your heart. Now fly away butterfly as high as you can go, I’m right there with you more than you know. By Jill Haley
To find what species are available in which states:
Information about releasing butterflies | Butterfly Breeders